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Population exodus: Pakistan ranked world’s fifth-most populous country

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Pakistan, ranked as the world’s fifth-most populous country, is facing a pressing concern: rapid population growth.

According to latest estimates in 2024, the population has surged to approximately 245 million, with an annual growth rate just under 2%. This rate surpasses the global average, posing multifaceted challenges for the nation.

The surge in population is straining vital resources such as food, water, and energy, leading to shortages and elevated prices. Additionally, environmental degradation, including deforestation and pollution, has intensified. The healthcare and education sectors are grappling with overwhelming demands, hindering their ability to provide quality services to all. Moreover, rising unemployment rates and increased poverty levels are exacerbating social and economic woes.

To address these challenges, the government has initiated several measures, says the ministry of population and social welfare, adding that these include efforts to enhance access to family planning services, raise awareness about the implications of unchecked population growth, and promote economic development to mitigate high fertility rates. Legislative actions, such as tax incentives for smaller families, are also under consideration.

While these measures represent a step in the right direction, experts believe, a comprehensive approach involving government interventions and societal shifts in cultural norms is required.

Examples of how world does it

In the realm of population management, several countries have navigated the complexities of demographic growth through a combination of innovative policies and initiatives. These success stories shed light on effective approaches to curbing population growth and ensuring sustainable development.

Thailand: Thailand stands out as a beacon of successful population management with its pioneering family planning program launched in the 1970s. Dr. Supat Hasuwannakit, a prominent public health expert, lauds Thailand’s comprehensive approach, emphasizing, “Thailand’s family planning program provided a model for other nations, offering accessible contraceptives, reproductive health services, and robust public education campaigns promoting smaller families.” As a result, Thailand witnessed a remarkable decrease in fertility rates, showcasing the efficacy of proactive measures in addressing population growth.

Bangladesh: Despite grappling with the challenges of being one of the most densely populated countries globally, Bangladesh has made significant strides in population management. Dr. Fatima Begum, a leading reproductive health advocate, underscores Bangladesh’s achievements, stating, “Bangladesh’s family planning program has been instrumental in curbing population growth by providing essential services such as access to contraceptives, reproductive health services, and comprehensive education on family planning.” These concerted efforts have contributed to a notable decline in fertility rates, demonstrating the impact of targeted interventions.

Iran: Iran’s formidable family planning program, initiated in the late 1980s, has garnered international acclaim for its effectiveness. Professor Ali Reza (late), a renowned demographer, affirmed, “Iran’s proactive measures, including the provision of free contraceptives, family planning services, and extensive public education campaigns advocating smaller families, have yielded tangible results.” Notably, Iran has witnessed a significant reduction in fertility rates, underscoring the transformative potential of strategic population management initiatives.

China: China’s implementation of the one-child policy in 1979 represents a bold and controversial attempt to rein in population growth. While the policy has sparked debates over its enforcement and societal ramifications, Dr. Ming Liu, a population dynamics expert, acknowledges, “China’s one-child policy, despite its contentious nature, effectively slowed population growth and underscored the importance of decisive action in addressing demographic challenges.” China’s experience offers valuable lessons on the complexities of population management and the imperative of balancing demographic concerns with societal well-being.

These global success stories underscore the significance of comprehensive family planning programs, widespread access to contraceptives and reproductive health services, and targeted public education campaigns in tackling population growth. However, experts caution that effective population management necessitates tailored approaches tailored to the unique cultural, social, and economic contexts of each nation.

As countries grapple with the intricacies of demographic dynamics, proactive measures and collaborative efforts remain essential in charting a sustainable path forward.

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